The DNR says around 170,000 deer were harvested during the 2022 deer hunting season, a lower total harvest than in recent years, including seven percent down from 2021 and ten percent less than the five-year average deer harvest.
“Lower deer numbers in northern Minnesota and poor weather during opening weekend in some parts of the state likely contributed to lower firearms A season harvest,” said Barb Keller, DNR big game program leader.
“Hunters struggled with rain and wind in some parts of the state during early November, but weather was better during later seasons including firearms B and muzzleloader seasons.”
A final report of the 2022 deer season will be available in March.
Chronic wasting disease remains a serious and persistent threat to deer herd health.
Twenty-six deer harvested had CWD detected, with 73 percent of those from the southeast, a region that continues to see persistent CWD infections in wild deer.
Two hunter-harvested bucks had CWD present in the Bemidji area.
Deer Permit Area 184 was included in a CWD-surveillance zone after CWD was detected in a captive deer facility and infected deer carcasses were illegally dumped on public lands.
The DNR opted not to conduct targeted culling this winter in the Bemidji area, due to the CWD detections in bucks, not does.
“We use targeted culling in areas within two miles of a known CWD detection in deer, particularly does,” said wildlife health program supervisor Erik Hildebrand.
“We know an adult doe has a smaller home range and a tight social group. If a doe has CWD, the likelihood that her social group also has it is high. When we find a doe with CWD, that serves as anchor point for our culling efforts–we can apply it to very small, specific areas to fight the disease.”
Conversely, bucks have larger home ranges and detecting CWD in two bucks does not allow the DNR to establish an effective anchor point for a culling effort.